Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Tara Cannon
Occupation: Founder of PintSizePilot.com—Survival Skills for Travel with Kids
Hometown: Vancouver, Canada
Residence: Vancouver Canada
College: Simon Fraser University (Never heard of it, right?)
College major: Business
Facebook: Pint Size Pilot
Pinterest: pint size pilot
YouTube: Tara Cannon
Short bio: Tara Cannon falls asleep each and every night reading about her family’s next remote travel adventure. Through years of taking her children on travel marathons in order to reach far-flung destinations, she developed the ability to not simply survive, but actually enjoy family travel. Through her family travel website Pint Size Pilot, Tara shares her top travel tips, destination guides and humorous anecdotes to encourage other parents to explore the world with kids in tow.
How often do you fly? Eight times a year. As our kids get older, and the repercussions for missing school increase (darn group projects), we have sadly become slaves to the school schedule.
How many countries have you been to? 39
How many continents have you been to? 5
Earliest travel memory: Waikiki at six. I was hopelessly disappointed that there weren’t hula dancers under every palm tree.
Favorite American city: Portland.
Favorite international city: Paris.
Least favorite country: Egypt in July (backpacking in 105ºF heat is no fun).
I have no desire to go to: Dubai (too over-the-top for me).
Friendliest people in the world: The Fijians. Who doesn’t love greeting people with the word “Bula!”?
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I have been lucky enough to never really have experienced a mean immigration officer, but I feel most stressed out when traveling to the U.S. I’m always worried that I am going to accidentally leave a prohibited item such as an apple in my bag leading the officer to take away my “Trusted Traveler” status.
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Galapagos.
Favorite airline: Air New Zealand.
Favorite aircraft type: Anything new and unsullied by other passengers.
Aisle or window: Window.
Favorite airport lounge: I’m loving the AMEX Centurion lounges. They have nice family rooms too.
Favorite U.S. airport: DFW. I actually look forward to breaking up a trip with an overnight layover there so we can spend the night at the lovely Grand Hyatt DFW in the airport.
Favorite international airport: Despite being my home airport, I love the spacious, bright and art-filled environment at YVR (Vancouver).
Favorite hotel: The Fogo Island Inn, Canada. Not only because it is a stunningly beautiful property, but also for its commitment to preserving a community and its culture.
Favorite cruise line: I have never been on a large cruise ship and, quite honestly, it seems like it would be my worst nightmare (I’m an introvert by nature). That said, we recently sailed with Haugan Cruises on their 16-passenger M/C Petrel in the Galapagos and it was really beautiful.
Favorite travel credit card: American Express Platinum.
Favorite island: St. Barths.
Favorite beach: St. Jean Beach, St. Barths.
Favorite National Park: Pacific Rim National Park, Tofino, Canada.
Favorite fancy restaurant: I much prefer a local bistro to a fancy restaurant. Cinara and the St. Lawrence are two award-winning restaurants in Vancouver that I am currently in love with.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Kintaro Ramen, Vancouver.
Favorite airport restaurant: Crú Wine Bar (DEN and DFW) for nice tapas in a pleasant setting. If you sit near the back, you almost forget that you are in an airport.
Favorite bar: Hog Heaven—Virgin Gorda. Excellent BBQ, delicious Caribbean rum punch and a gorgeous view. What more do you need?
Favorite fruit: Pineapple.
Favorite food: Pasta.
Least favorite food: Shellfish (I have texture issues).
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): In the air: water (Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.) On the ground: To begin my day, Peruvian organic coffee. For happy hour, a classic margarita (on-the rocks, never blended).
Favorite travel movie(s): I often get fixated on a place I see in a movie. Most recently it was The Juvet Landscape Hotel in Norway, featured in the movie Ex Machina. This lead to a near obsession on my part to stay there (it was full, but we did get a tour).
Favorite travel show(s): Anthony Bourdain—Parts Unknown. We often watched (and are still watching) episodes as a family. This program directly encouraged my kids to bravely enjoy a more immersive travel experience.
Favorite travel podcast(s): On long road trips and flights I enjoy listening to Reply All, a podcast featuring stories about “how people shape the internet, and how the internet shapes people.”
Favorite travel book(s): I’m not fussy (Lonely Planet, Fodors, magazine articles, blog posts, you name it). I want to know everything about the next place we are going.
Right now I am reading: “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Monocle, AFAR, Architectural Digest (for exciting new hotel projects around the world).
Favorite travel website: Besides JohnnyJet.com, I love the family travel site globetotting.com. Owner Katja Gaskell and I bonded over our love of family travel to places that most people don’t or won’t take their kids.
5 things you bring on a plane: Burt’s Bees rose water toner, Badger lip balm, my Kindle, sanitizing hand wipes, my iPhone with shows downloaded (I never trust that the entertainment system on a plane will actually work).
What do you always seem to forget? My makeup bag on the kitchen counter. I end up having to restock regularly at the airport Duty Free.
What do you like least about travel? Hurry up and wait.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? A nice bottle of wine to be enjoyed together.
Favorite travel app(s): TripIt. Our family adventures often have a lot of moving parts to them (planes, trains and automobiles). TripIt helps me keep my itinerary organized. The app once told me that I had failed to book a connecting flight to a remote location even though I had already rented a car there.
Most embarrassing travel moment: All of my embarrassing travel moments involve food poisoning of some kind (not sharing).
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Japan.
Worst travel moment: Losing track of our son (then five) in Mexico when kidnappings were on the rise. It was only for about 20 minutes but it felt like an eternity.
What’s your dream destination? Experiencing the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) with my family in some remote Nordic locale (no cell, no Wi-Fi and perhaps not even our camera).
Favorite travel charity: Pack for a Purpose. This organization partners with community projects, such as schools, to help provide them with the resources they need to be successful. Travelers can make donations based on a list provided on the Pack for a Purpose website, often dropping them with hotels in the regions that also support and participate in the project.
Best travel tip: When things go sideways, stay united—never turn on a travel partner.